My mother always said that meat and fish should never be mixed. Well, she was wrong and may I say that she had never visited Spain.
The following recipe is nothing new, cooks have played around with it over time using the usual Spanish type ingredients that most of us would have in our pantries.
Usually when I buy vongole I have them with long pasta (garlic and parsley, a bit of chilli and white wine), but now and again I like to play around with different flavours and because I had some chorizo in the fridge, the vongole ended up being more Spanish than Italian.
This recipe is in my book second book, Small Fishy Bites .
Paprika is called pimenton in Spain. It has a smoky taste, but if you do not have it use common paprika instead.
Because the vongole release their salty juices when cooked, I generally do not add salt.
I have also used prawns and cooked them in the same way. In the past I have also used chunks of prosciutto rather than chorizo.
If you have bought your prosciutto as a a solid piece and sliced it yourself you will end up with some chunks which are excellent for cooking. I am also able to buy ends (of the bottom part of the leg of prosciutto) from the deli part of the Queen Victoria Market, but any shop that slices prosciutto would have some.
As an accompaniment, just use bread to mop up the juices. I usually end a meal of this sort with a tasty green leaf salad – and I mean tasty, i.e. a selection of different green leaves with a good vinaigrette.
400-500g cooked cannellini
3 chorizo sausage (skins removed and sliced)
2-3 teaspoons smoked pimenton (mixture of sweet and hot to taste)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 glass white wine (or Manzanilla or Fino sherry)
4 spring onions sliced
1-2 cloves garlic chopped finely
2 tablespoons of tomato paste or 1 can (400grams) of peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 springs of thyme
Rinse the cockles – they are generally sold clean and unless you have collected them yourself there should be no need for you to rinse and rinse them until they are clear of sand.
Lightly fry the sliced chorizo in very little oil until it starts to brown. Remove it and set aside and use the same saucepan to proceed with the rest of the ingredients.
Add more oil to the pan and sauté the onions on low heat till they soften; add the garlic and pimenton, stir gently for 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, thyme and wine or sherry, cover and simmer until the sauce has thickened.
Add cockles and parsley.
Cover and cook until they have opened, shaking the saucepan occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.